Raccoon???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ocmom, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. ocmom

    ocmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Southern Oregon
    Hi everyone. I am very new mom to some great chickens and I am very appreciative of all the wonderful information on this site. From reading the predator section I believe a raccoon got our 9 week old Jersey Giant roo last night. I went to their coop this am to let them FR and I noticed a black lump in the corner. I couldn't believe it. It looks like he was pulled through a weak spot and was just eaten until the point where the body became stuck.[​IMG] I am just sickened thinking that I left a vulnerable spot.
    Here are my questions:
    Our coop is old but refurbished. I had "re-inforced" (apparently not well) the run area with chicken wire inside and out because it was originally done in wire with 2"x2" openings. I left that in place and just enclosed everything. Could my roo have gotten his head stuck in this gap in the corner first and then a preator came along...like he was bait?
    Also, I had just hung a new waterer about 6 inches from that corner. Could that have something to do with the attack? Would a chicken be over there getting water if a coon was trying to pry away the chicken wire less than 6 inches away from him?
    If a raccoon is trying to break in, aren't the chickens trying to get away from him?
    Could my roo have been trying to protect everyone else and gotten caught in the opening?
    Finally, what is the appropriate clean up for this situation. There was quite a bit of blood. The attack was the corner of where the run meets the coop/nesting area. I am practicing the deep litter method. I guess I just want to be sure of no remnants of blood left.
    I am sorry for the long winded comments. I am just so shocked and sad. I never heard a thing. FYI I am reinforcing the coop with fine mesh wire.
    Thank you all so much!
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Jan 27, 2007
    BOCOMO
    Welcome, ocmom! So, sorry about your guy. I'm sure you'll be getting lots of answers. I can take a couple, and ask a few. First, it certainly sounds like coon. They will and, I apologize for the imagery, do pull birds through like they are threading a needle with them and then macerate what they squeeze through.

    Yes, depending on the time of day and the situation (especially with inexperienced little guys) chooks will have more curiosity than fear, not so sure about getting `stuck' - have you seen any of them get hung up?

    Could be a young opportunist that lucked into a meal, but I doubt it (it knows where the food is now, regardless).

    went to their coop this am to let them FR and I noticed a black lump in the corner. I couldn't believe it. It looks like he was pulled through a weak spot and was just eaten until the point where the body became stuck. I am just sickened thinking that I left a vulnerable spot.

    If your coop walls are primarily wire(?), I'd suggest a double layer of 1/2" hardware cloth attached to frame with wood screws through washers. 4'x I00' of the 1/2" hardware cloth is still selling for ~$40.00 in MO. (a cheap investment). Pay attention to the roof and, if the coop is off the ground, and available to direct attack from below, cover those as well.

    Just as an aside, as you FR. Daytime predators need to be factored into your ranging schedule (if unsupervised). Aren't there coyotes in the canyons?

    Take Care and good luck​
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2008
  3. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2008
    Missouri
    Chicken wire keeps chickens in but basically does not keep predators out. Many predators that enjoy chicken dinner will and do chew right through chicken wire. It will need to be replaced, it is just not strong enough. Make sure the mesh wire you put up is of a heavy guage.

    By chance to you have a dog that could be trusted in the coop with the birds or tied next to the chicken coop until all repairs are made?

    I suspect if there is not a hole big enough for a coon to fit through your predator is probably a mink or a weasel. It would have dragged the roo to it's entry point and was unable to drag it through the whole.

    If a predator enters the coop while it is still daylight yes the chickens will try to get away. If you are out or have the windows open you will know it. They will cackle and squwak and carry on and when one gets caught the scream it lets out is usually blood curdling. One year I had a early rising coon that made two attacks about hour before dark and believe me I heard it in the house, it was the time of the year when I have the windows open. His third attack was his last!!!!!!

    If the attack is at night and the coop is completely dark they usually don't make much of a racket, chickens can't see in the dark and thus their instinct is to remain quiet and not draw attention to themselves.
     
  4. ocmom

    ocmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Southern Oregon
    Thank you for the replies. I am busy reinforcing the coop with heavy guage, fine mesh wire. Thank you for mentioning using wood screws with washers. I had been using staples and nails.
    As for free ranging, Yes, unfortunately we have a very active coyote population here in our canyon, day and night. So, I am relatively careful to only let my older girls (8-12 weeks) out if I am to be out with them. It is a gamble, but they just love it so. We are very new at this and this is only their 3rd week outside in the coop. So I may reconsider FR at all because this loss is so unnerving.
    One other thought I had was that I had noticed that some of my chickens have not been roosting at night. They all roost at some point or another, but sometimes I see them all sleeping together in a pile like they were still babies. I just thought that they would evenually get the hang of it. So, perhaps, some or all were sleeping in this corner and poor Alladin was who got caught? I just can't imagine a mink or weasel got inside the coop and was trying to drag him out. BUT, I will be sure to check all options.
    I really appreciate your thoughts.
     
  5. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Sounds like it was a raccoon that was able to snag your bird through the wire, and like you say, kept pulling and eating until he couldn't get any more of the chicken through the gap.

    Reinforcing with welded wire is the way to go. You can't protect them 100% - it's always a balance between making them have a good life (like getting free range time, etc) and doing all you can to secure the coop/run for when you can't be there to watch out for them.

    Sorry about your roo-boy!
     
  6. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2008
    Missouri
    If they are sleeping in the corner then it is possible for a coon to reach through and grab one. This is why it is important for people who use dog runs as coops to not put the roost next to the wire. Coons will reach right through.

    They will eventually learn the roosting thing. If they don't have a mom or older chickens to show them what to do it takes a little longer for that instinct to kick in.
     
  7. ocmom

    ocmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Southern Oregon
    Update...
    Thanks to everyone for all the great information and support. This site is just wonderful!
    Anyway, I have spent every day tuning up our coop and run. Using all wire mesh and lots of HEAVY cinderblocks...(where is my husband???). I even hung our garden's St. Francis of Assisi on their coop and broke out the holy water. [​IMG] I hope that is not blasphemous to anyone...[​IMG]
    Anyhoo, I just thought that I would mention that I found many compromised spots in about 4 different corners. Some critter (Racoon!) with very nimble fingers had been working for some time before it was able to grab our roo Aladdin. I am soooo bummed that I was not more aggressive about making them roost at night.
    So, my warning to all you new owners and maybe even veterans is to just be sure to make a quick security check every day!
    Also, after 3 straight nights of going in and and teaching those girls how to roost (glad there is no chicken papparazzi:))...I am proud to say that they are all roosting and cozy on their own!
    Thanks for all the great info!
     
  8. LSU2001

    LSU2001 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 7, 2008
    Cut Off Louisiana
    Hi Everyone,
    I am brand new here (this is my first post) but I have been reading for awhile. I too have a terrible coon problem and so far my solution is to trap/shoot them and then have a bar-b-que. I don't know which I like better bbq coon or bbq chicken. LOL.

    Seriously, it sounds like a coon and they are almost impossible to keep out of coops. Like everyone else said, build the coop and run like fort knox and lock the ladies up at night. and remember when all else fails, a coon bbq is not such a bad thing.
    Tim

    Oh yeah I am from Cut Off Louisiana so I will eat almost anything.
     
  9. ocmom

    ocmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 11, 2008
    Southern Oregon
    Hi LSU2001! Welcome![​IMG]
    I am not sure that a 'coon bbq is quite as acceptable here in SoCal as it is in Louisiana, so I will have to take your word for it! [​IMG]
    Seriously though, keep reading these predator posts and I guess we just have to make sure our girls are locked up tight. This is a great site, huh?
    Hope you don't have any problems OR bbqs!!![​IMG]
    Take Care!
     
  10. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Raccoons are dastardly beasties...
    I've found out that they've been draining my hummingbird feeder. I have my single remaining bird in my back porch with the door locked. I check it too because I've gotten paranoid about a raccoon opening the door and having a late night snack. Or I close the windows almost all the way too, just in case they try and climb in through there too...

    You can't be too careful...sorry you lost your rooboy.
     

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